The Sound of the Quail

My last four posts were written in the mid west– somewhere between Chicago, Illinois and Dayton, Ohio.  After five weeks away, I’m now back home in the high dessert of central Arizona — in Prescott Valley. Still adjusting. 

The mid west was beautiful this April and May, although my bones did not appreciate the damp cold in the early part of my visit (end of April and early May), but the weather improved. The green foliage entertained my eyes — the coy, lady-like beauty of the land.  Now that I’m back to the bold, scruffy faced beauty of the southwest, I am again reminded of just how much green there is here too. As in every state, no single description will do! Every state is full of variety, though, of course, some states have more than others. I’m drinking in the broad sun, the wide horizons, and the comfortable climate.

Quail. We live in a planned community named Quailwood. While there are lots of quail in this valley, I’m not used to seeing many in our area. But the quail seem to be getting more friendly with our neighborhood — maybe I’m just more aware of them.  I saw a family of them crossing the street a block from our house. Then yesterday, a quail couple meandered into our back yard and visited a while. I took some pictures and will post them sometime, but I don’t have the time to do so now. Heads up! Someday, I’ll post some Quailwood pictures.

We have two globe willow trees on our property and a third that is between our house and the house on our east side.  These are willow trees with branches that don’t drip down but turn up, causing the entire shape of the tree to be rounded. So peaceful. As they get taller and larger, they provide much shade.  Today, I am writing at my dining room table by a large window facing  westward and overlooking the main part of our pie shaped yard here on our cul-de-sac (a circle of four homes in a more private area of the development). Presently, my husband is trimming the lower part of the tree, shaping the branches which grow so fast.

We are having our first company tonight since our return this week from our long trip. We’re going to grill out and have a lovely outdoor evening. T’is the perfect season for outdoor living. Last night, Paul built a little fire in his homemade fire pit made of  field rocks. We sat in our cloth lawn chairs, roasting a few marshmallows and making s’mores. Two each was enough. We also had a bag of old, hard marshmallows that we tossed into the fire and watched the flames devour the white balls.  Our backyard took on a camping atmosphere. Quietly we sat listening to the night, deep in our own thoughts, conversing now and then. This prepared us for a good night’s sleep in our posturepedic, queen sized bed — no sleeping outside when we can finally be home in our own bed!

We usually arise early, and I was up by 5:00 and out walking around the block by 5:15.  I did not see the quail, but I heard them cooing. I love the sound of the quail. I used to think I was hearing doves but have learned the difference now. The sound of these quail reminds me of the sound of doves. Such a low, melodic, mellow sound. Peaceful. Reassuring.

Sounds. Just last Sunday afternoon, we were listening to the sounds of our two grandsons in Springboro, Ohio (south of Dayton). Four year old Aiden is an alert, energetic chatterbox who has stolen his Papa’s heart (mine’s dissappeared too). One year old Ryland with those huge blue eyes seriously absorbs all that is happening around him, then occasionally breaks out in a smile or giggle. Infected with his joy, we roar in uncontrolled laughter with him, all our faces crinkled with wide smiles. As lovely as are the sounds of quail and doves, our favorite sounds are the chatter of Aiden and the laughter of Ryland.

Our visits with them this past month will carry us through until we see the boys and their parents again.  We’ll also savor memories of our visits with our older daughter in the Chicago area at her pleasant townhouse perched by the tee at Hole #9 of Glendale Lakes Golf Course — with geese flying in and out, as if to dress the quiet greens with more viewing interest. We’ll remember restaurant visits with friends in Ohio, attending our niece’s precious wedding in Indiana, and meaningful family BBQ’s at one house and then another!

Dorothy claimed, “There’s no place like home!” As true as this is, our understanding of home has changed. It is less location and more relationship. When we are with people we love and who love us, we are at home.  Our house is the hub of our home, yet  our home is also where our daughters and family members and dear friends are.  Maybe we are more like quail — meandering. Maybe we are more like  geese — migrating back and forth, north and south. Maybe we are just God’s people who like Moses claim, “Lord, You are our dwelling place in all generations” (Psalm 90:1).

Categories: Spiritual Growth | Tags: , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “The Sound of the Quail

  1. Martin Zuidervaart

    Wow, Karen! Something mystical or mysterious stirs within me each time I read you blog entries.
    Having been to your Arizona home, your descriptions as well as your spiritual applications mean even more. Yes, the presence of the Father is our home and makes a home in each of our houses and relationships. Your way with words is more than a gift from our Creator–your words carry the anointing of the Spirit which blesses those of us who know you and how you have surrendered your
    heart over the years in trust of a good God in midst of personal pain and suffering. You inspire me,
    Karen, and Brenda as well. Proud of you! Your brother in Christ, Marty

    • kltolsen

      Thank you, Marty. I don’t know what to say in response. Your encouragement is overwhelming. God calls us to be His ambassadors, and we each have unique grace given opportunities.

      • Martin Zuidervaart

        And thank you for your response, Karen.

  2. Carolyn Wilkins

    I couldn’t agree more with Marty! Beautiful words and beautiful thoughts as well as meaningful reminders of what’s important in this life. Pain does that, doesn’t it? How well we know my dear friend. You are missed here in Ohio, but I’m thankful for the time we had together. Bless you for blessing us!
    Love you much. Carolyn

    • kltolsen

      Great to hear from you, Carolyn! I’ve been missing you and so many, but you are right that the perspective to take is to be thankful for the time we had together. Memories glue us together when we are separated. The Holy Spirit who unites us in Christ glues us together. The Holy Spirit is the unbreakable bond. And delightedly, we can meet people we’ve never known before (even through this blog), connect through Christ, and realize we’ve just met more of our own family, the family of God.

  3. Anonymous

    that was greeat, karen. susan

  4. Having just passed through your lovely Arizona community and spending time in your home, we can truly appreciate your vibrant descriptions of your physical “home.” Sitting and visiting at that same table where you penned these reflective words provided us with the reality of hospitality of heart and home as we reminisced, reflected, and ruminated with each other regarding events, people, and passions. Thank you for making our visit one that equates feeling at “home” with our “relationship.”

    Louis and Ruth Ann

    • kltolsen

      Louis & Ruth Ann,
      Thanks for your kind response. Thanks for your visit this past week end. We are still glowing over it. Very uplifting! Come again! And we hope more friends come this way! Readers, let us know if you’re coming through our area!

  5. Anonymous

    visiting is still on my list 🙂

    • kltolsen

      Yea!! It was great to see you in Ohio, and it will be great to see you in Arizona!

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